There’s not a lot to be said about Ten Years After’s Woodstock set. If you’ve seen the film Woodstock then you’ve seen all the footage that exists of Alvin Lee rocking the hell out of his Gibson hollow body.
Some Woodstock artists, Keef Hartley, for example, were doomed to footnote status by management decisions that resulted in their sets not being recorded or not appearing in the film. Others like Janis Joplin decided on their own not to appear in the film. Ten Years After doesn’t fit into either of these camps. No, these poor bastards were simply plagued by technical problems. Wadleigh’s film crew only managed to capture the last song in their set, “I’m Going Home.”
But what a song. Lee’s duck-lipped performance is one of the highlights of the film. It’s really a thing of beauty, bridging the gap between the guitar histrionics of the late sixties and fifties boogie woogie, with its walking bass line.
Remarkably, the rhythm section of the Woodstock-era band is still together as Ten Years After. You can visit them here. As for their front man, the great Alvin Lee is still out there, too. If you happen to be in Paris this April you can see him with another Woodstock legend, Johnny Winter. [Note: Both Lee and Winter have died since this piece was published; Lee in 2013 and Winter the following year.]
Here’s Ten Years After’s Woodstock set list. You’ll find “I’m Going Home” on virtually any Woodstock compilation or version of the film, but for the full experience go with the version on the Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music box set. You’ll get 12 minutes of guitar fireworks and boogie bass lines.
- Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
- I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes
- Help Me
- I’m Going Home
Your official Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 156
Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.
Here is Ten Years After‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:
1. Chip Monck – “Please do come down”
3. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (1)
4. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (2)
5. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (3)
7. I CAN’T KEEP FROM CRYING SOMETIMES
8. HELP ME
9. I’M GOING HOME
10. Chip Monck – “There’s been an awful lot of broken limbs”